CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2004 Toyota Matrix AWD with 86k mi_Replacing bearings and rear axles seals?

A mechanic just quoted me $224 for two rear bearings, $28 for rear axle seals, and $880 for labor. The car had been sounding like it was running hard and when they drove it today they noticed the seals were leaking and fluid was almost gone so they refilled with fluid and drove it again and made this recommendation.

Thoughts on the price?

I am unsure about these guys. Beginning of January I took it in because I could hear clanging under the car and when I looked underneath I saw the exhaust pipe was falling and hitting against something (they said it was the heat shield). Long story short $1900 later the entire exhaust system and catalytic converter (which they said had to get a Toyota manufactured part -not any other maker) - the car sounded bad the week after I picked it up -like a car that sounds like it has a hole in its muffler, you know? I moved out of the area and so now I"m bringing it back in to them because I spent on all that money on a new exhaust and it sounds nothing like a new exhaust system.

They quoted me the above -every time I get off the phone with them I feel like I’m being drained dry!

You need to find better mechanics. Find a recommended local mechanic in the “mechanics files” section of this website. Don’t go back to these guys.

Well these guys are playing by the book I suppose, I have used a bend it ourselves pipe guys for my exhaust work, and I had a split converter that they welded for $10. They did the rest of the job cheaper than I could buy parts for, muffler, rusted pipes etc. Lifetime warranty, after six years needed a new muffler, $6 charge because muffler clamps were not covered. Stuff happens, get a second opinion, the price seems reasonable for the bearings, and seals but if you are not happy with the first repair why risk a second.

I presume this car has a rear differential and axel shafts rotating inside a solid axel case lubed w/gear oil. If so, that’s configured like my truck. That price seems maybe a tad high, but within reason. It’s a pretty big job, involves disassembling the rear brakes, pulling the axels, removing the old and pressing on new bearings, reinstalling the axels, seals etc. On both sides. I’d guess it would take a pro mechanic 4-5 hours to do this job on my truck, but it might take longer of the Matrix for some reason. It might take longer for disc brakes w/abs sensors for example, compared to drum brakes w/no abs like on my truck.

If you think the price is too high, no harm done to get a second estimate. Ask your friends, relatives, co-workers who they use for repairing their cars. Best of luck.

I have serious doubts about the exhaust system work. These systems are entirely stainless steel and last pretty much forever, with the possible exception of the heat shield spot welds which, when they come apart, can be resecured with a $1.29 worm drive clamp. However, that’s done. So I’ll refrain.

What I’m wondering is why you’re going back to the same shop. The quote for new bearings doesn’t sound out of line, but aren’t you concerned that they might replace your entire drivetrain for $5,000 when all you needed was bearings? I would be.

Stay away from these guys and find a good mechanic who can actually DIAGNOSE a problem. These guys are “parts hangers” with similar capabilities as quack doctors.

Replacing a whole exhaust system because a rattle tells all.

That was one heck of a rattle to have to replace the entire exhaust.

I’d find another shop. Get a second opinion.

Yosemite

I went back to the same shop because I wanted them to hear my car start after their expensive exhaust system replacement. As mentioned, it sounded just like a car with a hole in its muffler: LOUD. The owner did correct that and it sounds beautiful -assuming he understands how or who in the shop allowed it to go out that way and maybe they can avoid making that mistake again. Still an estimate of $1,100 to replace the bearings in rear differential and axle seals -thanks for encouraging second opinion.

They filled the differential fluid and we’ll see how much has actually leaked over the past week–I am taking it in to a new shop (closer to home) for a second opinion and if GeorgeSanJose is right in the similarity of our rear differentials and that much labor time is involved, the estimate may not be that far off!

I appreciate all the feedback. Very helpful :slight_smile: